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Cuba

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Cuba

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1 "Santiago de Cuba"
Box Very Good 
Extraordinary group of ten original "postcards" with mixed media artwork depicting the sights of Santiago de Cuba. N.d., 1950s. With each folk art-y depiction of a monument, building or the like there is a combination of wafer thin pieces of wood pasted down and watercolors and pen and ink applied directly to the card. On to the wood is applied inkwork as well. The sights include the Jose Marti monument, the Abel Santa Maria monument, the cathedral, the Moncada, the Pdre Pico stairs, the Castello del Morro, the Diego Velazquez balcony, the Plaza de la Revolucion Antoni Maceo, the Granjita Siboney, and the City Hall. Homemade box, with faux wood panels -- the faux finish is carried over to the interior of the box as well -- alligator trim and card label made to look like sign nailed down. We would guess that the cards and box were made by a local artist for sale to a visitor, but we can't say for sure that they were not made by an enthusiastic, talented tourist. Either way, does it really matter? Somehow, to the whole production, something of the improvisational, original and quirky spirit of Cuba itself is captured! The box measures 14 by 12 by 2 cm. The cards are 13.5 by 10 cm. 
Price: 1000.00 USD
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2 Standard Guide to Havana. A Complete Handbook for Visitors, With Maps, Illustrations, Historyu, and an English-Spanish Manual of Conversation
Havana and New York Foster & Reynolds 1907 Wraps Very Good 
8vo. 19 by 12.5 cm. 144, 70 pp. With many photos of sights and people of Cuba, and a fold-out map. Also an abundance of ads for Cuban businesses and services as well as mainland U.S. hotels. Wear to the spine, with lower two inches of it missing. Internally tight and clean. Fold-out map in lovely condition. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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3 Carleton, George W. Our Artist in Cuba. Fifty Drawings on Wood. Leaves from the Sketch-Book of a Traveler, During the Winter of 1864-5
New York Carleton 1865 First Edition Pebbled Cloth Very Good 
8vo. 16.5 by 11 cm. viii, 50 pp., each with a comical illustration or two. Charming, if arguably Rascist. Probably capturing very well the common impressions of the tourists of the era, with noisome insects, heat and other afflictions sabotaging the pleasure of the visit. A clean, fresh copy, with the lightest of wear. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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4 de Dios Yvaņez y Valera, Juan (?) Spectacular Whimsical Album of Cuban Cigarette Cards and Die-Cuts, 1869 to 1871
Habana (Havana, Cuba) Full Morocco Very Good 
Oblong, 23 by 34 cm. 142 leaves, with cards and surrounding decoration only on rectos. Containing a total of 547 chromolithographic cards, plus countless pieces of chromo die-cuts and cut-outs which provide most of the elaborate decoration, and which crucially make this album an extraordinary, unique work of "folk art". The paramount value of this album is its artistic pizazz as a piece. This is not to minimize the value of the collection of cigarette cards printed in Cuba. We believe a collection of cards this extensive is in all probability a rarity, but we can not so represent with 100 percent confidence. But we trust our eyes and experience to assert with such confidence the overarching aesthetic quality of the whole. The cards are organized by series, and these include a zoological ABC, scenes with Sancho Panza in "Don Quixote", Antoņo y Ogoņo, the Universal Exposition in Paris, 1867, an ornithological alphabet, children's games, animal hunting, months of the year (comical scenes relating to the months), an Englishman in America (depicting his bewilderment and ineptitude), vice and virtue (children acting as adults, with most scenes shown with characters in eighteenth century garb), African large mammals, a Cuban gallery, Spanish costume and types, flowers, tobacco (modes of smoking), Ottoman military uniforms, worldly things (humorist depictions of sophisticates), Gil Blas, dress of noblemen, medals, famous buildings, bicycles, juicy scenes (comical scenes of mayhem), Spanish regions, escutcheons of Spanish cities, famous women, absurdist situations (no title to this grouping of humorist caricature), anthropomorphic animals, equine circus and mythological figures. Following, a section entitles "Caprichos", are fifteen pages of chromolithographs, several pages of obects (vases, boxes) which have actual paint applied to them, and there are three pages of photographs worked into the die-cut collage designs (and one page with the photos apparently whited out). It is a tribute to the compiler/artist that while the cards themselves are clearly chromolithographs, all the intricate decoration is not, and one can easily mistake it for actual painting. Undeniably, the meticulous cutting and inspired placement of these decorative elements represent an artistry unto itself. The highlight of the album are the sections' title pages -- these do not have tobacco cards on them -- in which the artist often plays with the subject matter of the cards to come. Thus, for the first section, "Alfabeto Zoologico", the letters are made of cut-outs of frolicsome monkeys, as is the surrounding framing. We marvel how the artist was even able to find the pieces to assemble this. As to the creator, we are not sure. Juan de Dios Yvaņez y Valera may just be the dedicatee. Condition: light to moderate soiling. Last page with a neat square hole where a card had once been. Binding scuffed, stained, etc. but still highly attractive and sound. 
Price: 14500.00 USD
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